Isn’t it funny how random objects can bring back tidal-waves of memories, nostalgia and emotion? I was reading the other day about Kate Middleton’s visit to Wimbledon when she told the ball girls & boys the difference they make to the championship with their professionalism: “You look so smart.” She nailed it – the British summer season has so many traditions and sign-posts that inspire evocative memories. And often it’s the details rather than the main event that sticks around in our memories. For me, one of those is Christy.
I got my first Christy towel when I was a late teen. It was the 2007 women’s Wimbledon towel – the year that Venus Williams claimed her 4th Wimbledon title, as it happens. I kept my towel like a trophy, afraid to over-use it incase it lost it’s new-towel feel in the wash (I’m a bit wierd like this. I also have two chocolate monkeys from Thornton’s that I got for my 16th birthday and refused to eat because then they’d be gone and they were my monkeys. They (Dolce and Gabanna, natch) are still in my parents’ larder. Which is a bit gross actually, thinking about it). And I’m not the only one – apparently Wimbledon players routinely snaffle away a series of towels over the course of a tournament. Djokovic told ESPN last year that he was taking a spare bag to his games, “for the towels that I take from Wimbledon.” They’re a precious commodity and instantly loved by everyone who uses them.
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I’ve since added to my collection of Wimbledon towels – lain side by side they’re the perfect size for picnic-ing on or working-out in the garden.
My second set of Christy towels arrived when I got my first place paying actual rent for an actual flat of my own in Soho. Adulting VERY well, I’d say. They were from my parents and I still have them in all their glorious white fluffy-ness.
What I didn’t realise until very recently is how involved in The Season Christy actually is. I was invited to join them at Sandringham restaurant (note: just as faaancy as it sounds. No that’s not a typo. Say it. Out loud. Doesn’t it feel fancier? Exactly) for the first day of the Royal Ascot 2017 meet. Because, as it transpires, Christy is the official textile provider at Ascot Racecourse. Which means that if you’ve ever visited, you’ve probably used one of their fluffy hand towels in the bathrooms, or the elegant napkins on the tables. Even the Jockey’s towels are from Christy. Which means that the first thing the wining jockey feels after crossing the line is probably a Christy towel. How cool is that?!
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We arrived in time for a champagne reception and three-course lunch at the sprawling Sandringham restaurant in the Queen Anne’s enclosure. Our lunch was temporarily halted around 2pm for the traditional arrival of the Royals down the Royal mile from Windsor castle. It’s tradition to bet on the colour HM The Queen will wear each day, and this year I’d be amazed if anyone won – HM was wearing bright lime green. I mean.. so on point. Also in the carriages were Prince Philip, Prince William, Kate Middleton and other members of the Royal Family.
We bet on a couple of horses and one of them came through which meant it was the first time EVER that I’ve won at Royal Ascot. Admittedly it was only £2.30 and technically a loss since we’d bet £20 total, but still. I’m taking it as a win.
We’d seen the first three races when it was time to congregate back at Sandringham (I love saying that) for afternoon tea (mine was gluten-free) and more champagne. Plus a fresh batch of Christy napkins. Obv.
Here’s to a very British Summer Season.